By Kathryn Peck
As a mom x 4 and baby shop owner x 2, you can probably imagine how much time I’ve spent talking to new moms about all the things new moms talk about. Baby sleep habits, first foods, child proofing everything – you name it, I’ve covered it.
But when customers ask for baby gift recommendations, one product that always comes up are muslin swaddling blankets – not because swaddling a baby is a “must” for new parents, but because there are so many other uses for these ultra-soft and breathable cloth blankets after the very short-lived swaddling phase is over.
But when customers ask for baby gift recommendations, one product that always comes up are muslin swaddling blankets.
They’re durable, so they’re going to last. (In fact, they typically get softer with each wash!) Here are a handful of other uses for these amazing cotton muslin swaddling blankets besides swaddling.
1. A nursing cover. These blankets are perfect for privacy when you’re in a not-so-private place (like, say, the parking lot of a Starbucks … I speak from experience.)
Its large size (typically 47” x 47”) is generous enough to cover both mom and baby, and because this breathable muslin fabric has an open weave, you don’t have to worry about you or your baby overheating.
Yes, they make true nursing covers (like the amazing Milksnob brand which we love), but this casual approach is entirely useful.
2. A changing mat. Who says you need a formal changing pad when you’re out and about? These soft muslin blankets do the trick just fine. They get softer with each wash, and they’re big enough to cover those public restroom changing tables or folded in the grass.
3. A sleeping blanket. Beyond swaddling, these blankets are usually large enough for young toddlers, and they make a perfect summer blanket. Its lightweight breathable weave makes it a perfect blanket in warmer temperatures, and you won’t have to worry about overheating.
4. A car seat or stroller cover. Getting outside is a must for new moms, but when the sun is shining in your baby’s face, no one is happy, nor are they sleeping. Swaddling blankets make amazing covers to block the sunlight. The breathable muslin’s open weave doesn’t disrupt airflow, and you can easily drape the fabric right over the car seat or stroller seat. Keep it on outside, inside – anything goes, as long as baby is sleeping, right?
5. A bouncy chair cover. Each of my babies spent a ton of time in the Baby Bjorn Bouncer. We loved this chair, and for good reason. But spit ups happen, in the chair and out. While the fabric is washable, it’s also a pain to wash all the time. So covering your bouncy chair with this thin muslin fabric is the perfect solution to a few too many loads of laundry.
6. A playmat. There’s something about a playmat on the floor that’s comforting; it designates a baby’s safe space. Toddlers avoid it, and parents walk around it. A muslin blanket makes a perfect playmat in a pinch. True, it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that a formal playmat does, but when you’re visiting friends, laying out a swaddling blanket on the floor plus a few toys will do just fine.
7. A burp cloth. Burp cloths are nice, but you may not always have one. If not, a muslin swaddling blanket is a good substitute. Draped over your shoulder, it covers a lot of surface area and makes a nice soft surface for your baby. They wash well and dry quickly.
8. A picnic blanket. While I wouldn’t use it at the beach, it’s a perfect blanket to lay in the grass at a park. Its large size is great for handful of toddlers to enjoy snacks in between swings and merry-go-rounds. And for babies that aren’t mobile yet, it’s a perfect place to sit and watch the world happen.
And, when your baby is truly done with his or her swaddling blanket? Consider using these muslin blankets for dust cloths or cleaning rags. We even saw one post about using cut up pieces of a muslin swaddling blanket as a makeup remover in place of cotton balls or cotton pads!
About the author: Kathryn is the owner of Bicycle Pie and mom of 4 little ones. Also a writer, editor, and former owner of one of Boston's premiere baby boutiques, she continues to write about motherhood, children's products, family life, and all other things that test our skills and patience as parents.
Photo credit: Brixton Phoenix